Revised Final Environmental Assessment
Columbia River at the Mouth, Oregon and Washington: Rehabilitation of the Jetty System at the Mouth of the Columbia River
Clatsop Co., Ore. and Pacific Co., Wash.
Issue Date: April 19, 2013
Expiration Date: May 3, 2013
Interested parties are hereby notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, proposes to augment the foredune adjacent to the root of the South Jetty at the Mouth of the Columbia River.
This draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment incorporates by reference and supplements the Revised Final Environmental Assessment for Columbia River at the Mouth, Oregon and Washington, Rehabilitation of the Jetty System at the Mouth of the Columbia River, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, July 19, 2012. The EA disclosed environmental impacts and provided a comprehensive analysis for all repairs and rehabilitation actions proposed for the jetty system at the Mouth of the Columbia River, including the foredune augmentation at the Clatsop Spit (Spit) adjacent to the South Jetty root. Pending receipt of final clearance documents, the Corps issued a Finding of No Significant Impact on July 26, 2012.
The scope of this draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment clarifies the work of the preferred alternative as it relates to the foredune augmentation. Since the EA and FONSI, further design has been done related to the foredune augmentation. This draft SEA clarifies the particulars of that work and further describes the impacts that were not entirely covered in the EA before the design evolved.
Since completion of the EA, the Corps’ proposed design to augment the existing foredune adjacent to the South Jetty has evolved to reflect the following updates:
(1) additional design options and material sources were considered as part of a value engineering study;
(2) the locations of the proposed associated construction access and staging areas were altered to avoid cultural resource, shore pine forest, and additional dune impacts, but would have unanticipated minor wetland impacts (a wetland determination was completed in the area south of the previously delineated project area);
(3) an adjustment in the project design elevation would result in previously unforeseen fill in 404 waters of the U.S.; and
(4) newly proposed compensatory mitigation would offset fill in wetlands and waters of the U.S.
The reason for protecting and stabilizing the foredune at the MCR South Jetty is to prevent further foredune erosion, and to minimize the risk of a breach of the foredune, Clatsop Spit, and the South Jetty root. The foredune augmentation is one component of the preferred and selected alternative as described in the EA and FONSI for the larger suite of repair and rehabilitation actions of the MCR jetty system.
The proposed action would occur in and around the foredune adjacent to the root of the South Jetty, which is located at the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, in Fort Steven State Park, in Clatsop County, Ore.
The preferred alternative is a cobble berm, dynamic revetment feature, which was described as cobble fill in the EA. The VE study explored design options in more detail, and findings reinforced selection of the preferred alternative. The location of the construction staging and access areas in the EA were immediately north of the jetty root. The staging areas proposed in the draft SEA are now south of the jetty root along an existing roadway. The cobble fill design in the EA did not extend below Mean Higher High Water, whereas in this draft SEA the proposed design does extend below MHHW and into Clean Water Action Section 404 waters of the US. The EA did not anticipate fill in wetland or waters of the U.S. for a staging and access area south of the jetty root, nor did it account for fill as a result of the cobble placement. Therefore, compensatory mitigation has been proposed for unavoidable fill impacts.
A Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment addressing the impacts associated with updates to the preferred alternative is available for public review and comment on the Corps’ website. Additionally, as determined by the findings of the Draft SEA, a Draft Finding of No Significant Impact is also available for public review. Both can be found at the following website: http://www.nwp.usace.mil/
In accord with the Council on Environmental Quality National Environmental Policy Act regulations [Federal Register, 40 C.F.R. 1508.9(a)], an Environmental Assessment is prepared by a federal agency when a proposed action is not covered by a categorical exclusion or otherwise exempt from NEPA. Federal agencies use the EA to determine whether the proposed action has the potential to cause significant environmental effects. The purposes of the EA are to accomplish the following:
1. Provide evidence and analysis sufficient to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement is required.
2. Aid a federal agency’s compliance with NEPA when no EIS is necessary.
3. Facilitate preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement when one is necessary.
The EA is meant to be the primary tool that federal agencies use to determine whether or not to prepare an EIS.
Completion of this draft SEA will involve inclusion of responses to all public comments. Upon completion of the draft SEA, a determination of significance will be made on the preferred alternative and either a Finding of No Significant Impact will be made, concluding the NEPA process, or a decision will be made to prepare an EIS. In order to prepare an EIS, it must be determined that the proposed action will have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. Public input on this draft EA is encouraged as it aims to identify public concerns early in the project planning process.
State Water Quality Certification: State Water Quality Certification from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, is required and will be obtained prior to project implementation. The CWA Section 404(b) (1) evaluation has already been prepared and will be updated.
Cultural Resources: The Corps is coordinating with Oregon State Historical Preservation Office and interested Native American Tribes. Although the Corps initially determined this project is likely to have “No Effect” on historic properties, coordination with SHPO is ongoing, and additional stipulations that require monitoring by a professional archaeologist during ground disturbing activities may be issued.
Endangered Species Act: Biological Assessments were prepared and formal consultation per Section 7 was completed with receipt of a Biological Opinion to address potential effects to listed species under jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided a Letter of Concurrence for its jurisdictional species in accordance with requirements under the Endangered Species Act.
Additional Information and Comments: Questions regarding the enclosed environmental documents or submittal of public comments on this draft SEA should be directed to:
Barbara Cisneros, Environmental Resources Branch, telephone (503) 808-4784; via e-mail at Barbara.G.Cisneros@usace.army.mil; or at the address below.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Portland
Attn: CENWP-PM-E / Barbara Cisneros
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946
To become part of the record and to be considered in the decision, comments on this notice must be sent by the above closing date. In your response, please refer to the above public notice number, title and date. Should no response be received postmarked by the above closing date, a “no comment” response will be assumed.